Thanks to Matt over at World of Brews for hosting this months Fermentation Friday. His topic this month, "Breaking Away From the Norm".
"Most home brewers I know and read about use the standard 2 row base malt and the 3 big C's for the hops and maybe a nice 1056 or 05 for the yeast. In my book that is kind of boring even though I do it myself. I want to know if and why you break away from the norm. Do you use Maris Otter for your base and Tettenger as the hop. Or have you ever tried using a specialty malt as a base (can this even be done)? Do you like to mix up the yeast or do you always stay the same. So bust out your out of the norm recipes and tell me why you chose what you did."
This months topic is relatively pertinent to me since just last month I did just that. I brewed my Allagash Triple Clone using Pilsner malt as the base. I am almost always using 2-row for my base malts in all my beers. It's cheap and it works well, but for some beers you need to use something different. This beer being one of them. Unfortunately, the beer is still in the secondary so I don't have an update yet as to how it turn out, but I'm going to be bottling next week so in a few weeks it will be drinkable.
Over the past few months I've been reading a lot of my old issues of Zymurgy and BYO and online homebrew forums like Tastybrew and lots of people are "breaking away from the norm" and using things like MO (Maris Otter) and other types of base grains. But in this economy and seeing that I don't have a ton of extra cash laying around, I like to use 2-row. It might not give you the same powerful flavor as MO but it's a great grain to use and it's cheap!!!
With hops, it's a little different for me. I rarely use the 3 C's (even though I grow Cascade and Centennial) and I am always on the lookout for the newest, and most pungent hops available. Currently, I've been trying to use a lot of Glacier Hops. They're not the easiest to find, but they have a wonderful citrusy aroma and pack a nice hop punch. For me, I like to use hops for the Aroma and Flavor they can produce. I tend to do a lot of 30 minute and under additions and those work the best there. I do like to big alpha hops, but I feel that when you're trying to put that many IBU's in through a bittering hop, the flavor and aroma get lost from that hop. So, I make sure the late addition hops I use pack a good punch for the nose!!
Make sure you tune in to next months Fermentation Friday as I'll be hosting (I think) here on Brewing the Perfect Beer!!!